Advantages some youth have in navigating the day-to-day decisions in life are good advice and positive role models.
Ryan T. Galdamez, associate pastor of youth and their families at Grace Baptist Church enjoys counseling his flock. Galdamez is also an elder at the church.
“I have always enjoyed helping students grapple with the deep truths of God’s word and understand that they were made for God and his purposes,” Galdamez said.
He moved to Tahlequah in 1998 to serve as the dean of students at Markoma Christian School. At that time, he and wife Shelly joined Grace. In June 2003 he came on staff at GBC to work with the youth.
Grace Baptist is a body of believers who love the Lord and one another, he said.
“Our desire is to live fully for Christ, knowing that our only standing before God is the work of Jesus on the cross in payment for our sins,” Galdamez said. “I love GBC, because of my church family and GBC’s commitment to faithfully proclaiming the truth of God’s word.”
A graduate of Camdenton High in Missouri in 1990, Galdamez attained a Bachelor in Biblical Studies from Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, Mo. He recently finished a Master of Divinity degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
“I believe my calling was not specifically to youth ministry, but to pastoral work in general. I’ve been blessed to work with youth much of my life and continue to enjoy making disciples of youth as well as adults,” he said.
A choice to serve in ministry came after feeling called, he said.
“I felt a strong desire to work in the local church in a pastoring/teaching role,” he said. “I had been in various leadership positions in my life, and as I pursued this specific area of service, I also sought out counsel from those who knew me well and they helped to confirm that this area of ministry was where the Lord was leading me.”
Galdamez was in college when he found a pastor who helped steer his course in life’s journey.
“Mickey [Merrick] was a great encouragement to me, as well as to many others,” he said. “I did not come to a saving knowledge of Christ until I was in college. At that time, I met often with Pastor Mickey Merrick, [former pastor of the First Evangelical Free Church].”
Today, Galdamez enjoys spending time with the youth, building relationships and pointing them toward the Lord, he said. GBC’s youth ministry encompasses grades seven through 12. The staple aspects of the program are Sunday School and Wednesday night youth group.
“We strive to enjoy one another and grow deep in God’s word,” he said.
As youth minister, Galdamez said he hopes that the gospel of God’s grace stays front and center throughout their whole lives.
“We have nothing to offer God, except our sin, and it is merely the kindness of God that he saves us through the death and resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I hope this truth resonates with them always,” he said. “Beyond this, I would hope they gain a firm grasp on the whole counsel of God’s word, and strive to live close to Jesus and for his fame always.”
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